Re: Unknown Flare

Stephmon@aol.com
Sun, 31 Oct 1999 01:19:13 EST

In a message dated 10/30/99 10:18:29 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 
finn@main.jetnet.ab.ca writes:

> While just looking around, i spotted an object flare brightly, -3 mag, low
>  to the North East. At 01:41:35 31 Oct UTC +/- 3 sec it passed approx 4 deg
>  below (NE) Menkalinan. Az 40 deg El 18 deg. It remained very visible long
>  enough to see it's track took it from N to E. So far i have unable to ID
>  this object with Alldat.

I'm can't claim that I've solved this one, but I do have a few candidates 
that strike me as possibilities (though I don't doubt you've already counted 
them out). First, since we tend to think of Iridiums when really bright 
flares occur, I include Iridium 50 and the tumbling Iridium 11, which pass 
right through the exact position you mention, on the track you describe. 
Unfortunately, 50 should have been about six minutes earlier getting there 
and 11 should have been about 4 minutes later, according to the TLEs included 
below.

U.T.C.      Satellite Name  Sat.#   Elev.   Azimuth Mag
01:40:00    Iridium 11 tum  24842    0°     002° [N]    8.1  
01:45:32    Iridium 11 tum  24842    20°    047° [NE]   6.7  

Iridium 11 tum   4.0  1.8  0.0  6.0 d
1 24842U 97030G   99302.10384712 +.00000711 +00000-0 +22261-3 0 03481
2 24842 086.4537 162.9701 0016261 166.3366 193.8275 14.39296437124097

U.T.C.  Satellite Name  Sat.#   Elev.   Azimuth Mag
01:29:55    Iridium 50  25172    0°     002° [N]    7.8
01:36:10    Iridium 50  25172    20°    057° [NE]   6.5

Iridium 50       4.0  1.8  0.0  6.0 d
1 25172U 98010D   99301.11323502 +.00000475 +00000-0 +16260-3 0 02283
2 25172 086.4026 162.1988 0002379 066.9770 293.1664 14.34219761088416

Next, we have Cosmos 1842 Rocket, which was at the exact location, at the 
exact time, but the direction doesn't quite match your description. Could the 
short duration and proximity to the horizon have caused you to misjudge the 
bearing? Probably not, (I've never heard of a Rocket that bright) but I'll 
include it anyway.

U.T.C.      Satellite Name  Sat.#   Elev.   Azimuth Mag
01:32:39    Cosmos 1842 r   17912    0°     161° [S]    7.1
01:39:03    Cosmos 1842 r   17912    32°    089° [E]    5.0
01:45:27    Cosmos 1842 r   17912    0°     018° [N]    7.1

Cosmos 1842 r    7.4  2.4  0.0  5.5 v
1 17912U 87038B   99301.08049555  .00000562  00000-0  73816-4 0  7646
2 17912  82.5020 319.2027 0022290 147.4966 212.7609 14.78348407674016

One interesting thing about hunting this unknown, is just how popular this 
portion of Auriga was, during the ten minutes surrounding that time. This is 
surely a long shot, but it might be worth checking the passes of the two 
Iridium birds on upcoming nights. Perhaps the unknown will reveal itself 
again.
_______________________________________
Regards,
Stephen
stephmon@aol.com
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